Brent crude nears $70 as OPEC tightens supply

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EIA forecast Brent spot prices will slide from the average 71.34 US dollars per barrel in 2018 to only around 63 dollars per barrel in 2019 and 62 dollars in 2020.

WTI futures are now within striking distance of a key technical target at $63.45 after crossing to the strong side of its 200-Day moving average on Monday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, futures were up for the fourth consecutive day, hitting a five-month-high due to tightening of supply on the back of production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, analysts said.

The OPEC+ reductions allayed concerns over an American Petroleum Institute report that was said to show a 3 million-barrel increase in US crude inventories.

Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 1.8 million barrels, and distillate fuel inventories, which include diesel and home heating fuel, dropped by two million barrels. Analysts in a Reuters poll expected stockpiles to fall by 425,000 barrels.

Crude advanced for a third day after a further reduction in supply from Opec signaled that global markets are tightening.

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The new data for March showed the country continued to exceed its quota and produced 1.92 million bpd during the month, a report published by Bloomberg showed. This is tightening the supply.

Figures showing a rebound in USA factory activity in March and a return to growth in Chinese manufacturing eased concerns about a global economic slowdown. -China trade impasse lifted financial markets. The announcement of a trade deal should spike prices higher, at least temporarily until traders can go through the details.

In a sign that supply may tighten further, a USA official said on Tuesday that three of eight countries granted waivers by Washington to import oil from Iran had cut such purchases to zero, adding that improved oil market conditions would help reduce Iranian crude exports further.

Net U.S. crude imports rose last week by 386,000 barrels per day.

As the U.S.is pressuring countries to follow its lead on sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, low output from both countries are fueling the rise in oil prices.

That increase appears to be largely driven by refinery downtime in the US refining hub and disruptions in ship traffic related to a fire at a petrochemicals storage facility.

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